The paper looks at a number of religious traditions and finds we’re all in the same boat:
One of the cruelties of the coronavirus is that it has led places of worship to not only strip away in-person religious traditions, but also modify or eliminate community gatherings all at a time when the faithful — still reeling from the effects of an unrelenting pandemic — need them most.
For families with young children, this presents an especially big challenge: Without in-person religious education or volunteer activities, how do parents keep kids engaged in their religion? How can a family “love thy neighbor as thyself” in a world where close social interaction is discouraged?
Carrie Willard, 42, an administrator at Rice University, said that for her two boys, 12 and 9, the “big-C challenge” is the ability to see God in other people rather than casting judgment because they aren’t making the same choices. But what she and many other families continue to grieve is the loss of their in-person community, especially during the holidays.
…Victor Rodriguez, 55, and his wife, Juana Rodriguez, 46, members of the Church of the Ascension, a Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan…attended church in person every Sunday, but now only he and his wife watch mass on YouTube at 9 a.m. on Sundays.
Their four children, ages 14, 13, 8, and 5, used to volunteer at the church’s food pantry, which was mainly staffed by kids. But when the pandemic hit, it was no longer considered safe for them to participate and the adults took over.
“It’s real difficult,” said Victor Rodriguez, an unemployed carpenter. Even so, he added, “we have to learn to live with this right now. We have to take precautions for us and others.”
The pandemic has led some church leaders to worry about whether families will return to church when in-person services resume. Church membership has already fallen sharply over the past two decades, and an increasing number of Americans say they have no religious preference. But an April survey from Gallup, conducted during the early days of the pandemic in the United States, found that of those who were members of a church, synagogue or mosque, about half had worshipped virtually within the past seven days, and another 6 percent had worshipped in person.